In an instant, Lucy's consciousness was inside of the recreated 2nd kaiju. It wasn't like the other times when she used the KF system; there was no pain, nor the black void between bodies.
>KF replica system transfer complete.
>terminal 29347 now subservient to terminal 29346
>communication with terminal sΨ2?? now open
>data install at 1.21%
"Be careful!" Lucy heard Hannah's voice echo throughout her mind. "Without the 2nd DCP we can't repair damage to the city or use the lockdown function."
"That would've been something nice to know a little earlier." Lucy replied. Though she couldn't speak, she could feel the words transfer back to Hannah.
"We don't have time for debate!" Hannah said. "Take down the 203rd kaiju as quickly as possible!"
Lucy began her attack on the spiderlike creature, launching herself at it using the propulsion jets. She made a lunging punch towards the creature's eye, shattering its outer shell and shooting bits of pixelated matter into nearby buildings, shattering the layers of glass windows. The kaiju flew backwards and leveled the city block behind it.
A cloud of dust and smoke obscured the arachnid monstrosity until it began a charge towards Lucy. She grabbed a hold of the creature's front legs as it slowly pushed her backwards into a damaged building.
>data install at 43.6%
"I feel so much weaker, what's going on?!" Lucy called out to Hannah.
"The data integrity of the 2nd kaiju is significantly lower than it was when it contained its own DCP." Hannah replied. "The further you get from the Atom-3, the more it will drop. If you need to use brute force to take the down the kaiju, you'll have to get closer to the Atom-3!"
Lucy tried to snap off the creature's legs, but to no avail; she simply didn't have the raw physical strength. The attacking monster locked its gaze on her as its cracked eyeball began to illuminate. It was familiar, but Lucy couldn't figure out where from.
"Look out!" Hannah shouted. "It's charging data energy for an attack; it's just like the 202nd kaiju! If that thing hits you, your data integrity will fall even further!"
"That's a bad thing, right?!" Lucy asked. She let go of the creature's front appendages and slid underneath its body.
>data install at 78.43%
"If your data integrity hits 0% the Atom-3 will be incapable of sustaining your consciousness, it'll be the same as if your kaiju's DCP was destroyed!" Hannah answered.
"So, it's a bad thing, okay." Lucy added.
After firing its beam attack into the now barely-standing building, the kaiju launched itself with a jump towards Lucy, pinning her to the ground with one of its talon-like legs. Lucy grabbed at the appendage and tried to destroy or at least move it, but the kaiju was simply far too strong. Its eye began to light up once more, charging another attack.
>data install at 89.4%
Lucy braced herself for the inevitable impact. This would be it, she was going to die here. Lucy heard a sound from somewhere across the city. It sounded a little like an elevator, or maybe a car starting. She couldn't see where the sound was coming from, however.
Suddenly, Lucy saw a something flash through the 203rd kaiju, splitting its eye in half. Blood shot out from the arachnid's structure as it disintegrated into millions of tiny, shadowy cubes. Lucy's gaze was then brought to another figure, a giant armored kaiju with what seemed to be a massive sword. The new creature bore a stunning resemblance to the transformed 2nd kaiju, though its exterior plating looked much stronger.
"That's-" Hannah was stunned. "That's the mk1. The artificial kaiju. What's Gabriel thinking?!"
Lucy stood up and faced towards the new kaiju, assuming defensive stance. "Is that thing an enemy?" She asked. "It just took out the spider-kaiju in one blow."
"I don't know" Hannah replied, "but chances are that Gabriel sent it here to capture you."
>communication with terminal sΨ3?? now open
"Tamer 7" A distorted, masked voice called out to Lucy from within her mind, "if you surrender here, I can take you in peacefully. Otherwise, I may have to resort to force."
"Who are you?!" Lucy called back, "Why do you want me to go back to DEED?!"
"You-" The masked voice replied as the armored kaiju braced its gigantic blade. "I cannot answer that to you. All I can do is ask that you comply with my request."
"Like hell I will!" Lucy cried. "There's no way I'm going back!"
"Then I suppose I have no choice." The voice said regrettably. The silver kaiju's sword seemed to unfold slightly, revealing a secondary blade inside along strings of blinking lights. The kaiju became wreathed in an intimidating aura as it coursed with motes of thunder.
"What's that?" Lucy said to Hannah. "Something else to worry about?"
"The mk1 was specifically designed to combat other kaiju." Hannah replied. "There's very little you don't have to worry about."
In a blinding instant the armored kaiju jumped towards Lucy and slashed across her chest. The pain from her wound pulsed across her entire body, stunning her for only a moment.
>data integrity dropped from 40% to 15%
"That's a whole 25%! One more hit and I'm toast!" Lucy strafed backwards. "Is there any way that I can leave this thing?!"
"The mk1's DCP grid is blocking your connection to the Atom-3. You won't be able to escape until it deactivates." Hannah answered.
"Great." Lucy scanned her surroundings for options.
>data install at 100.00%
>data received from terminal 29345 is now usable
Lucy felt something shift in her arm. A clicking sound quickly passed through her perception as a new panel opened in her mind. The panel was labelled "KF replica system."
>Hardware has been updated. New functions are available:
"Well, that's useful." Lucy said. "What does that mean?!"
"I think I can help with that." Hannah answered. "We were in progress adding a new function to the 2nd kaiju before the fight with the 202nd, the KF replica system might have picked up some of the residual files and reconstructed them."
>>Function list updated.
>>>Unnamed system has been renamed to "Data energy laser."
"Laser?!" Lucy said. "You mean like what that spider thing tried to use?!"
"It's technology adapted from the 202nd kaiju, just like the propulsion jets from the 4th." Hannah answered. "You should be lucky the data install even went through, it seems that the transfer signal isn't being blocked by the mk1, only the KF replica systems."
"There's no sense worrying about that." Lucy said. She turned back towards the mk1. "Was that your best shot?!"
"So, you still stand against me?" The voice within the armored kaiju replied. "I was hoping you'd make this easier."
"As if." Lucy pointed her arm towards the armored kaiju as the barrel on her wrist rotated out to reveal a small cannon. "You'd better be ready!"
Before the silver kaiju could dodge, a beam of yellowish light pierced through its shoulder from within the cannon. The kaiju's arm then fell to the ground, the sword along with it.
"So that was your plan?" The voice said.
"Not in the slightest." Lucy replied. "I didn't even need a plan to take you down!"
"If you think I'm giving up now, you're sadly mistaken!" The mk1 flew towards Lucy with remarkable speed as Lucy narrowly dodged to the side with the aid of the propulsion jets. "How long is it going to take you to fire that attack again?"
>data energy charging at 10%
"Dang, he's right." Lucy thought. "It'll be at least a few seconds before I can use that again." She threw a punch at the mk1 as it brushed past her. Her fist impacted the kaiju's hide before shards of metal flew out from the impact. Lucy felt pain in her hand, she sustained more damage than the mk1. "This is bad."
"Is that the best you've got?!" The voice called. "I doubt you can even put a dent in my armor!"
>data energy charging at 50%
Lucy had an idea. "You're with DEED, right?" She said. "How come you don't know how long my cannon is going to take to charge?"
"Why would I need to know such a thing?!" The voice replied. "I'm not the one piloting the 2nd kaiju!"
Lucy aimed her arm back at the mk1. "I bet you that even an uncharged blast from this weapon would take out one of your legs. You'd be a sitting duck if that happened."
"Good thing I'm not planning on getting hit."
>data energy charging at 80%
"Almost there." Lucy thought.
"I'm surprised that you haven't fired yet, however." The voice continued. "If you had a chance to escape, I'd expect you to use it."
"Maybe it's because I want you to turn off your DCP grid." Lucy said. "If you disable it, I won't have to kill you."
"That's absurd. There's no way for you to kill me while I'm in here. The cockpit is even more secured than the DCP core."
"They told you that if the core is destroyed, you'd die, right?" Lucy said. There was something that concerned her, however. The 2nd kaiju didn't have a cockpit. Was the mk1 a manned unit?
"No..." The voice replied concernedly. "Why would they say something like that?!"
"Because it's true, I even saw it happen with my-" Lucy paused. What was she talking about? She had never died before, right? Why would she say something like that? Fading memories were drawn to the surface of her mind before her focus on the fight resumed. They were memories of a cyclopean kaiju and a girl with brown hair. Was it the same girl from the train station? Yes, it had to be her, the girl with the raincoat.
"What is it, is something wrong?" The voice said. "Did you get caught up in your own lie?"
>data energy charging at 100%
Lucy pointed her arm back at the kaiju's head and fired. The laser seared a hole through the armored kaiju's head as it slumped to the ground.
>communication with terminal sΨ3?? has ended
>communication with terminal sΨ2?? has ended
>KF replica system disengaging, returning host to terminal 29346
In an instant, Lucy was once again standing on the roof of her apartment building, the 2nd kaiju now vanished from sight. Hannah was gone, however; maybe she had something better to do than keep Lucy out of trouble. As she looked across the city, Lucy saw the giant bloodstain from the 203rd kaiju as well as the remains of the mk1. Amidst them were hundreds of destroyed buildings, all of which likely contained human beings. How many people died in that battle? Lucy would never know for sure.
"You really did it" Gabriel's voice came from Hannah's earpiece, "you really gave Lucy access to the Atom-3's command system."
"We both know it's the only way." Hannah replied. "I'm surprised that you put the mk1 into action, however." Hannah was driving her car through an underground tunnel on her way to DEED HQ, having just finished her excursion to the surface to help Lucy.
"It was necessary to keep the Atom-3 under control. You know what could happen if we let it consume another core unit."
"I'm just as worried about it as you are. I'll have you know that I was ready to shut Lucy down if the situation went out of control." Hannah said. "More importantly, all of this means your hypothesis was correct. Alice is out there in the flesh now and we can't use Lucy to stop her."
"We can't be positive she's taken a physical form; this might just be a diversion."
"She wouldn't go to the effort of-" Hannah hit the brakes of her car as she saw a figure in the middle of the road. The figure, though obscured by the darkness, visibly had long hair and was wearing a yellow raincoat around its waist. As Hannah scrambled to unbuckle her seatbelt and reach for her gun, the figure glared at her with piercing, red eyes that seemed to shine in the dark of the tunnel.
Hannah frantically pushed open the door and jumped out of the car, firing off three shots with her pistol. Hannah's gaze finally fixed itself on the figure's location, only to see nothingness in its place.
"What the hell was that?!" Gabriel said. "Did something happen?!"
Hannah smelled something, blood. She reached for her phone and turned on the flashlight before searching her surroundings. She saw something on the side of the road and approached it in horror.
What Hannah found was a corpse, barely. It was a collection of cubic masses of flesh lying in a pool of blood. There was blood splattered across the walls of the tunnel as well. The cubes contained bits of clothing and hair. It was nauseating; Hannah had a difficult time even looking at the mutilated body.
Lying in the pool of blood was an ID card. Hannah picked it up while trying to not glance at the corpse. She looked at the card and read out the name, still in shock of her discovery.
"Dr... Dr. Miller... No..." Hannah mumbled.
"What's wrong?!" Gabriel said. "What happened to Dr. Miller?!"
"THIS IS YOUR FAULT, GABRIEL! YOU DID THIS!" Hannah screamed. "It's your fault that Alice is awake again! If you hadn't let that Turner girl come into contact with the DCPs none of this would have happened!"
Lucy returned to her apartment and sunk into her bed. She lied there for a few minutes, pondering what she remembered during the fight with the mk1. Who was that girl? Where did those memories come from? She hadn't had an attack since she tried to take control of the 202nd kaiju, why was that?
Suddenly, Lucy felt her phone ring from her pocket. She looked at the caller ID as a wave of relief washed over her. The name read "Kaden Miller."
"Kaden! Why didn't you pick up earlier?! Are you okay?!"
"There's no time, I need to see you right now! Where are you?!"
"Whoa, what's the hurry? Is everything okay?"
"It's about Gabriel, you remember him, right?!"
"Yeah, of course. He's a lunatic."
"Gabriel is what the kaiju are after! Gabriel is the Orphan!"
-to be continued-